Peters & Peters secures acquittal of a former Barclays senior executive in the SFO’s landmark prosecution
Our client is a former senior executive of Barclays Investment Bank and was a defendant (formerly alongside Barclays itself and three other former executives, and latterly alongside two other former executives only) in the SFO’s landmark prosecution based on payments made by Barclays to a Qatari sovereign wealth fund and the Prime Minister of Qatar. The first trial (before a High Court judge) ran from January to April, followed by a Court of Appeal hearing in June 2019. The second trial started in October 2019 and concluded on 28 February 2020 (with unanimous ‘not guilty’ verdicts returned on all counts). The second trial was heard at the Central Criminal Court before a Lord Justice of Appeal (only the second criminal trial to be heard by such a senior judge in living memory).
This prosecution was widely viewed as one of the SFO’s most important to date and a key test of its ability to prosecute complex and high-profile cases. Our client was central to the case as he was the key link between the lawyers and the deal team and because of all the defendants his telephone alone was recorded (so he featured by far the most heavily in the evidential record), and we took the lead in challenging the SFO’s approach to numerous issues which arose following its decision to bring charges. The issues on which we took the lead included several key legal arguments which substantially narrowed the case which the judge eventually permitted the prosecution to place before the jury, and an application by us alone resulted in a critical ruling (which was in due course placed before the jury) that the SFO had failed in its investigative duty to obtain all relevant evidence.
We also advised on a related FCA investigation, in which our client was a suspect but was cleared of any wrongdoing.